Exposing Media Errors Versus Hatred of the Press

I previously commented on the exposure of Little Green Footballs of the alteration of photos by a former Reuter’s photographer. Eric Boehlert adds some perspective by reviewing LGF’s long standing hatred of the press.

This is more relevant to the manner in which the story was covered than the particular story. There were major differences between the manner in which the left and right blogospheres reported on the story. At the time the story came out, a few of us from liberal blogs briefly noted the story, and then moved on. It was a simple story of a single photographer altering photos, and subsequently being fired. The press organization acted appropriately. I also found the story of interest as it was a story which started in the blogosphere and then made it to the mainstream media. I suspect this will be increasingly common.

Much of the right blogosphere covered this as a major scandal. While they were right in criticizing the alteration of a photograph, this did not provide any sort of proof for their anti-news media feelings. This is certainly misnamed by calling it Reutergate consider that Reuters did the right thing in firing the photographer and removing his photos from their files.

The initial stories have been followed by blog posts such as Boehlert’s. I disagree with Boehlert and some others in writing this off as minor alterations of a photo. Altering news photos is wrong, period. Being minor does not excuse such alterations, as Reuters realized when they fired the photographer. We also cannot ignore or oppose the story merely because it came from a right wing blog. LGF deserves credit in this case, but it is also relevant to point out their overall history of hatred of the news media. While I give them credit in this particular story, I would not want anyone to take this as reason to trust them the next time they criticize the media. Each accusation will need to be evaluated independently.

Update: Reviewing the track backs (see comment 1) I see that The Sundries Shack has commented on this post. It was partially favorable but did disagree here:

I’d question, though, the way Chusid got to where he did. He accets as true Boehlert’s contention that Johnson hates the media. That is simply not true. What Boehlert and Chusid call hate is far better described as a deep, deep mistrust.

The author goes on to cite several examples of perceived media bias. The myths of liberal bias are far better refuted in Eric Boehlert’s excellent book than can be done in a blog post. When the conservative blogs repeatedly make unsubstantiated claims of bias (which often come down to not accepting their world view) it is a fine line as to whether we characterize this as hating the media versus having a deep, deep mistrust (although if this is mistrust, it often sounds more like paranoia). Still, not personally knowing the author or having the ability to read his mind, I really cannot say what his personal feelings are. Rather than stating that LGF and others hate the media, I should have noted their views.

While perhaps I should not have used the word hate, my main point here is not altered. When a site such as LGF posts criticism of the media, it should not be rejected based purely due to the source. The media does make mistakes, and there are episodes of bias, and LGF may be right from time to time. However, as Eric Boehlert points out, conservative sites do have a track record which does give us reason to be suspicious of their criticism and the motivations for their criticism.

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